Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild - 5/2/14
Minnesota Wild (43-27-12) at Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15)
NHL Hockey: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -204 / Minnesota Wild +185 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The Wild look to ride the momentum from their game seven overtime victory over the Colorado Avalanche as they kick off their second round series in Chicago.
The Minnesota Wild pulled off an historic victory on Wednesday night as they skated into Colorado and sent the Avalanche packing with an overtime victory in what was the second time they have done that to the Avs in their building, the first team in history to accomplish that feat. It was a sense of déjà vu for Patrick Roy as he was the goaltender for the Avs when the Wild pulled off the first leg back in 2003 in what was Roy’s final game in the NHL and one that sent Colorado’s playoff dominance into oblivion. Nino Neiderreiter’s second goal of the game proved to be the deciding marker as the Wild clinched a spot in the second round and now head into the Windy City to take on the defending Cup champions in what should be a more intriguing matchup than people anticipate. Aside from the possibility of Ilya Bryzgalov being the undisputed starter between the pipes thanks to a possible sidelining injury to Darcy Kuemper these teams are actually relatively close on paper as Minny plays a very different game than the Hawks but can still match up with them shift for shift.
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The Chicago Blackhawks avoided a scare after falling behind 2-0 to start their series with the St. Louis Blues but they ripped off four straight victories from there to win the series at home in six games and cement themselves as a legitimate Cup threat once again. The Blackhawks could very well have finished their series off in four games as they held late third period leads in both games one and two before ultimately allowing a tying goal and the subsequent game winner but if they had a bounce go their way that series could have been a sweep for the champs. The Blackhawks were my pre-playoff pick to return to the Cup finals and represent the West and while they made quick work of the Blues they catch a Wild team who is full of confidence and will be out to prove they belong here and that they can compete with the big boys of the NHL. Unfortunately for Minnesota, I don’t think they have enough offensively to keep pace with the Hawks, they don’t have enough defensively to contain them, and Bryzgalov is a liability in goal. I can see this series being extended a couple games beyond expectation but ultimately I think the Hawks win with relative ease and that starts with a statement game on home ice.